FRESNO, CA — Marcus Delon Wesson entered this world via Kansas on August 22, 1946. He grew up abused by an alcoholic father and “religious fanatic” mother, relocated to California as a teen, and then spent some time the Army before returning home.
After Wesson settled in San Jose, Rosemary Solorio, a married mom from the area, left her husband to move in with him. She brought her children with her.
In 1971, Solorio gave birth to Wesson’s first daughter while he looked after her other kids, including kindergarten-age Elizabeth. All the while, Wesson groomed the young girl with the idea that God had selected her to be his next bride.
At age 27, Wesson “married” eight-year-old Elizabeth in a decidedly unofficial ceremony. They did legally wed, though, after Elizabeth turned 15 and Wesson got her pregnant.
Over the next 16 years, the couple would generate 10 children (one of whom died as an infant). In all, Marcus fathered 18 offspring by way of Elizabeth, the daughters he had with Elizabeth, and a number of nieces.
The horrors of child rape, incest, torture, brainwashing, and the other unimaginable abuses to which Marcus Wesson subjected these children culminated in the most tragic manner possible on May 12, 2004.
That’s when rampaging Marcus Wesson killed nine of his own kids, shooting each one through the eye in a room piled with stolen coffins, from 24-year-old Sebrenah to 18-month-old Jeva — who was Wesson’s toddler son and grandson.
Afterward, Wesson didn’t have the decency to turn his .22-caliber pistol on himself. Instead, he blamed the daughter he murdered first.
In the course of forging his own demented notion of a dynasty, Marcus Wesson ruled over his brood with all-controlling, unimaginably evil absolute power. He looked to Branch Davidian leader David Koresh as a role model and, during the 1993 siege of Koresh’s compound in Waco, he told the family:
“This is how the world is attacking God’s people. This man is just like me. He is making children for the Lord. That’s what we should be doing, making children for the Lord.”
Wesson forbade the children to attend school, and instead inundated them with his own twisted take on Christianity wherein the Jesus Christ of the Bible was a vampire. Wesson also said he himself was Jesus Christ. Relentless lessons centered making sure the “students” understood Wesson’s total omnipotence.
Discipline involved frequent, bloody beatings with sticks and wire cables. Anyone who thought of leaving or alerting the outside world was promised painful death. The boys could not talk to the girls. The girls were forced to sexually service Wesson.
In time, Wesson “married” six of his biological daughters and nieces when they were between the ages of seven and nine, and eventually impregnated each of them.
While never holding a job, Wesson forced the older children to scrounge for money and forage for food. He also ran welfare scams while moving the family from tents to trailers to makeshift shacks to abandoned buildings. For a while, they resided onboard a rotting tugboat. The boat, in fact, got Wesson busted for fraud in 1989, after he didn’t list it as an asset on his welfare forms. However, even during his brief jail stint, Wesson exuded total domination over his “wives” and children.
The nightmare endured for decades. Finally, while facing eviction in 2004, Wesson, then 57, announced his plan to transport the entire family from the unused office building they occupied in Fresno to Washington state.Several of Wesson’s daughters — who were also mothers of his younger offspring — balked at the idea. They stormed off and demanded that Wesson hand over their children. Wesson exploded in response with homicidal wrath.
After being called about a child-custody incident, Fresno Police showed up at Wesson’s residence. A standoff ensued. It’s unknown at what point exactly Wesson systematically executed nine of his children, but when officers finally dragged him out, the bodies had been arranged in a tangled heap, surrounded by antique caskets.
While on trial, Wesson claimed his daughter Sebrenah committed the murders, then shot herself through the eye. It proved effective enough a defense gambit that the jury didn’t conclude that Wesson acted as the lone triggerman.
Still, on June 17, 2005, the jury cited Wesson’s terrifying mental and emotional grip over the family and convicted him on nine counts of first-degree murder, in addition to multiple charges of rape and incest. Ten days later, a judge sentenced Wesson to death.
At first, Wesson’s surviving family members defended him. That’s how deep his tentacles had burrowed into every element of their beings. In time, though, by way of enormous charity efforts and intense counseling, these once-shattered victims healed and moved on to lead independent lives.
As of 2017, Marcus Wesson remains alive on death row in California.
Main photo: Marcus Wesson, 2014 prison mug shot [Califronia Department of Corrections]